The flood of cattle imports from Canada that many experts anticipated once the border re-opened has not quite materialized. But that doesn't mean the cattle aren't out there.
According to the Canadian government, the nation's cattle herd was at a record high as of July 1. On that date, there were an estimated 17.3 million head of cattle north of the border ... an increase of more than a half-million head over the previous year.
Officials are counting cows in this country, as well, and finding U.S. feedlots are getting crowded.
The August cattle-on-feed report released by USDA late Friday reflects a continued trend in the slow pace at which beef packers are processing animals.
The number of cattle on feed as of August 1 was at 102 percent of year ago levels ... the number of cattle placed during July was just 98 percent of the previous year ... and the number of cattle marketed in July was at 100 percent.
Analysts said sluggish overseas demand has slowed U.S. beef exports ... and is one cause of the persistent increase in cattle on feed numbers.
But the placement total was much friendlier than the trade anticipated. July placements were 2 percent below year-ago levels ... and 4 percent below the average trade guess. The reduced in-movement to feedlots should ease concerns over the front end supply of cattle on feed, as well as reduce the worries over a continued slide in cash market prices.